My husband surprised us with a surprise vacation. There is very little which surpasses such a level of happy for me than that. We needed to get away, we needed to be somewhere else together. And we did so. It was felicity! If you love someone, show them by taking them somewhere, it doesn’t have to be elaborate or very costly (it will cost something, everything does), but it is well worth the effort and planning and will result in a refreshing of the soul and deeper bond than before. We all needed that and we so appreciate it. Thank you, God!!
I don’t usually add pictures to my blogs. I use Instagram to share pics and try to segment my life that way so it makes sense to me. But here we are on vacation and I was struck with the level of peace we are experiencing. Recovering from the loss of a few close people to us, we have been quite broken for quite some time. And here we are in St. Augustine and it feels like a healing balm has been placed all over us. God has blessed the vacation. I know I have beloved people praying for us. The effect and answer of tthose prayers is a peace. We have had great fun and experiences and just sheer enjoyment here. Ate at the best Italian restaurant ever (first pic), toured the downtown, went to the beach, played and the park, little things and time spent doing nothing. This has been a healing, enjoyable, blissful vacation and I and feeling more like my happy, strong and meld than I have in a very very long time. Praise God!!
The biggest thing I have learned through many many roadtrips (usually unplanned) is that bathrooms are much more important than anyone ever gives them credit for. Know where they are, for heavens’ sake. Next in importance is so very important. Stop off a bit on the way. Rest, refresh, involve yourself in a new place, understand a new spot, a foreign piece of soil, a new tree, a vivid flower, especially the tiny little wild ones at your feet. There is a peace and tranquility that only occurs in the stops, the breaks, the taking a minute to just be and just be in a new space that you can never match by any other means. Most importantly is the notion that we must breathe to be. We must rest sometimes to continue on and we are richer for it. Do not feel guilty in life either to need a break now and again. It is much more unnatural to force yourself to continue and be poorer for not having enough oxygen to your lungs. Must breathe. Must take in the air to revive and be better at everything else. Addition things to note:
1. Crunchy snacks are invaluable.
2. Drink only what water you have to and as much coffee as you can handle without more frequent bathroom stops.
3. Wear shoes you can slip off.
4. Be sure your car is in tip top shape.
5. Prepare (like with a gallon of water or fix a flat or full spare tire, etc.) in case.
6. Take turns at the bathroom and someone stay with the car. Rest stops can harbor thieves sometimes, better safe than sorry.
7. Determine if you have a destination or are winging it and feel free to swap those as needed. 🙂
8. Never forget where you come from in the excitement of where you are going. Then never forget you went there.
9. Pictures. Take them. Clarity dims with time. Take the shot. Make notes at what you shot.
10. Only take people with you that appreciate and uplift or go alone. If someone starts being negative, even if unexpected things happen, leave them at the closest rest stop with their phone to call a taxi and enough money to get them home. The money is worth parting with. So is the negativity. Warn them first so you don’t feel guilty. lol
11. Even if you have done that trip before, find something new to try, a new place to go, a different route, whatever.
12. Invest in a map of the area. The road less traveled by may be amazing but also may not connect up again to the highway or go in a straight line.
So, a vacation just happened to the beach. When you vacation with children, the youngest being 5, the rest of the family vacations really and this mom hopes for a few quiet moments to dig into the sand and plant herself there… for days. However, that usually doesn’t happen, so I satisfied myself as usual with making sure everyone else was having a good time and vacationing. So I thought about my ideal vacation. Get ready for something deep and profound. My ideal vacation is a day… at home… alone. I would take a few hours really, at least a half hour, 10 minutes even. And in this space of time without anyone wanting this, needing that, pulling me here, wanting to go there, talking, always talking, never ending the talking, etc. Because on vacations where everyone else is relaxing and I am working, when we leave I get back home not to relax but to unpack and clean up and put away and so on and get dinner because they forgot they ate an hour ago. So, whoever wishes me peace, this would come with some time off. That would revitalize me for a long time. Everyone needs to recharge their batteries the way they can do that best. We are all different. And I am happy to have had a great experience with my family but I’m exhausted. If you need me, I’ll be sleeping, exhausted from my “vacation”. lol (We had a lot of fun, I must say that 🙂
Whenever I say how busy life is my older friends tell me to appreciate it because later I will be lonely when the kids are gone, dad is gone, and so on. I love having work to do. I don’t believe at all that I will be an old woman sitting alone in a room staring at the walls or even an entertainment box for that matter. I love people. I love helping people, serving them, worshipping with them, playing music for them, anything. There is always something to do, some great or small work to accomplish. What I men is that sometimes this busy business often is the way to belp, serve, worship, play, etc right now but I would maybe prefer a vacation on occason. Lol once in a while, you have to let your hair down and travel, take a break, take a road trip, be alone or with one person you love and trust and just play that piano, wrong notes and all, write that song, write that letter, paint that painting. Many things on hold. Sometimes you need to break away and do them. Life is complex and will not usually give back to you so it is merit I’ve to demand some time to yourself to just be and have quiet conversations with God and loud conversations with a friend and play! Close to my birthday now, this is when I set my goals for the year and one is to play more. Sounds silly but that is exactly why. Sometimes silly revives the soul. Doing what God has gifted you to do is important to prepare for His work for us on earth. So many things keep us from who we were made to be. We need to be. Freedom!
It is impossible (financially, time wise, etc.) To vacation as often as I would like. It just cannot be done. So, the absolutely beautiful mind is that we can command it when we must. And when crazy is becoming your dominant feature, we can call ourselves out for a brief vacation moment to calm our butts down and regain some peace before we continue on our merry way. When you are away from it all, even for a few minutes or hours if you are really blessed, the phone off, the TV off, the tablet and computer off, it becomes amazing that we tolerated all that noise before and no duh that we need a break from it once in a while. We need silence. Of course that happens indoors. Sometimes we need the noisy but peaceful silence of outdoors. Sometimes we need jazz or classical music, so staying that takes us where we usually are not mentally. Sometimes I change something up, add candles to dinner, draw a bath, add lights to a tent for the kids, so staying to mentally put you somewhere else. Isn’t that what a vacation is? The benefits are enormous: happy kids, happy spouse (well, unless like mine your spouse dislikes romance), happy me, happy you, peace and joy. There is a luxury in momentary escape. It refocuses you on what is truly important and what is distracting nonsense, which turns out a lot of chaos in life is. Most things in life can wait a little bit to answer, respond to, focus on. Very little is as important as we make it out to be. And really, if we get flustered at every little thing, how much faith in God could we possibly be exercising??
There is a park in Lakeland that is well maintained and picturesque as well as representing the lakes in Central Florida. You will see there (across from the Detroit Stadium practice field called Tiger Town) a little piece of Heaven. There are nicely paved walking trails with maps, restrooms (thank God for that but do take your own soap as they are clean but never seem to have restocked the soap), an enormous lake, a stream, some bridges, woods, a pretty great playground, obstacle course, volleyball courts, pavilions, benches, soccer courts, two tennis courts, a boat dock with pier, and a plethora of wildlife (human, vegetable and animal). There are some trusty alligators, of course. And about twelve million squirrels (a slight exaggeration) that may very well eat from your hand should you offer them peanuts. There are ibis (those white birds with the hooked beaks), heron, occasional swans, osprey (fish hawks), egrets, pipkins, moorhens (swamp chicken that make a call very much like the guy laughing in “Wipe Out”), and ducks. Other come by also that are common everywhere like blackbirds, grackles, bluejays, cardinals, morning doves, etc. You will find a standard variety of plants and trees and it is well shaded in many areas. You are welcome to fish there but please don’t disturb the serenity with an obnoxiously loud motor. 🙂 And if you find too many children present or too much bustle on the main entrance to the park (on Granada), there is a backside to the park (on Lakeland Hills Blvd.) with separate parking, swing set, skate park, shuffleboard and more pavilions and a quieter walk. The park is recommended for its variety and interest and for accurately representing our very best of natural Central Florida. It is a lovely place to take the family and enjoy tech free entertainment. And yes, there is still such a thing.